Tag Archives: culture

White-Out to Tears in under 30 seconds!

I was sitting at my desk when a young girl said “Please pass the Opti Fluid.”  Opti who? Was most likely the look I wore.  I’m sure my face dramatically contorted to a “HUH?!?” expression because she repeated “Opti Fluid” and motioned in the direction toward my right.  I followed her gaze and spotted a bottle of WHITE-OUT….WHITE-OUT was Opti Fluid!  Plus it helped that the words ‘ Opti Fluid’ were right on the bottle.  I quickly grabbed the bottle and chuckled somewhat relieved, “Oh, you mean WHITE-OUT!”  

Granted, I know that White-Out is a brand but since when did people begin to refer to the stuff by other names?  Opti Fluid?  Seriously?  It’s WHITE-OUT!  Am I so old that White-Out is no longer the verbage of the youth? 

This got me thinking…about a lot of things…but mostly about my Pap.  I think of him almost daily.  Sometimes I smile, sometimes I tear up a little, sometimes I feel a huge lump forming in my throat as I choke back the tears and sometimes I spew fountains of saline and snot from the orifices of my head uncontrollably.  However, the latter is happening less and my head and those around my head (in spewing distance) are thankful.

He was born in 1928.  He recently went onto GLORY in Oct 2010.  That’s a lot of life experiences.  That’s a lot of White-Out now being called Opti fluid.  I can only imagine the changes he experienced during his life time and I would love to ask him about them but….I can’t.  I would love to sit and listen to him talk about his life and the magnitude of wisdom he gained by living it.  I would love to hear how it was “back in the day” just one more time.  I would love to hear him talk about his tools and all of the many jobs he performed with them.  I would love for him to show me what he was building and excitedly explain the project to me step by step as he often did.  I would love to ask him the many questions that my mind automatically generates as a “Oh, I’ll have to ask Pap that…” but then suddenly remembers that, I can’t.

I wish I would’ve taken notes when he told me of his life memories because some of it is difficult to recall now.  He knew so much.  He did so much.  He experienced things that our current culture could never understand nor fathom.  Yet, he was always willing to try the newest fad or activity of our day.  Take dancing for example.  I’m sure in the 1920-30’s dancing was entirely different from 2000’s right?  But that didn’t stop him.

Shaking a tail feather!  Not only was he dancing with the youth of the day but doing it in style with a glass of vino!

And what about fashion?  I can only imagine how they dressed in the 1920-30’s.  But he didn’t let fashion stop him.  He was always sport for whatever came his way.

In Israel he met an Arab and dressed accordingly!

At the airport he sported a straw hat.  Yes, it was much different and slightly more feminine (I don’t think farm boys wore straw hats with pink bows and lived back then) than the hats he wore in his day on the farm but it was a straw hat no doubt.

And being a farmer he knew A LOT about land.  All land and any land, if it had dirt, he knew it.  Because of his connection to the land you could often find him out and about on the land….looking, thinking, observing…even in other countries…

Exploring the aqueduct in Israel with the trusty walking stick.

I didn’t realize what I had in my grandfather.  I did, but not fully.  Isn’t that the way it is though?  Doesn’t the saying “We don’t realize what we have until it’s gone” capture it perfectly?

I urge you to appreciate what you have before it’s gone.  Value those who are older in your family.  Take time out of the craziness we call life to visit them and really listen to what they have to say.  They are full of wisdom and sadly, this wisdom often dies with them.  An entire way of life perishes when they do.  I wish I had my Pap back for just one more day….one more hug…one more goodbye.  But this wish cannot be granted.  I have to cherish the pictures, the memories and the beautiful person that he was until we meet again someday.  

Looking over the Sea of Galilee during a boat ride in Israel

In the meantime, I can look forward to becoming a creature of wisdom myself where White-Out will always be White-Out!!!

Close your eyes and swallow.

I’m usually bold enough to try anything in the food world at least once.   I guess the “you never know until you try it” adage was permanently seared into my soul.

This outlook on food almost killed my psychological well-being and digestive track when I was dating my husband, who is Filipino.  I initially approached the exotic food with great caution, similar to what I imagine walking through a mine field would be like.  I strategically placed meager amounts of the unknown substance(s) on my plate with the utmost uncertainty…Closed my eyes, opened my mouth (maybe chewed a little) and swallowed.  However, after my taste buds danced and exploded with delight, I began to inhale multiple servings of delish rice, chicken, noodles and other veggies.  I eventually quite asking what things were and simply heaped mounds of steaming hot [presumed] goodness on my plate. 

It was during this time of hog slopping that I discovered an important fact.  Not everything in the food repertoire was, by my standards, edible.   Here is a brief example.

Eggs, right?

Take this little gem.  Upon my first encounter with these guys I assumed that they were hard-boiled eggs.  Given the fact that I LOVE hard-boiled eggs, I skipped with delight at the sight of these babies. HOWEVER because I am talking about my frightening exposure to the dark side of Filipino food, I think you can deduce that something evil lurked beneath the shell.

Meet the contents of the egg.


They call this lovely Balut (Ba-loot).  Balut are duck eggs that have been incubated until the fetus is all feathery and beaky, and then boiled alive. The bones give the eggs a uniquely crunchy texture. They are enjoyed in the Philippines and the fifth and seventh levels of hell.

I hit you with the worst first because I’m cruel like that and you guys are tough.  Now that you have regained control of your stomach and digestion organs, here are some other fun times at the table that I enjoyed – totally unaware until something deep inside my innards began to question things.

looks innocent enough…I thought.

My friend, Diniguan which is also called “Blood Pudding or Chocolate Meat.”  This dish is simmered in blood until it creates a thick gravy-like substance.  But, baby  it ain’t no gravy!!  If you like the taste of liver…I do not and this taste is what produced the rapid expulsion of the material from my mouth and caused the Filipinos to giggle at the white chick spewing chunks of blood meat all over her plate, you may enjoy Diniguan but here is what you should know.  The ‘meat’ is often stomach, intestines, ears, heart and snout. YUMMY! 

fit for a queen

But what the queen should know is that she is eating Mr. Ox tongue.  I know we have this dish in America too but this girl never met Ox Tongue before.  The texture of this little fellow let me know immediately that I had been tongued!!

The place of eating Ox Tongue

Blissfully unaware and food tripping in the Philippines, we loaded up our plates and gorged on the hot, steamy stuff.  However, if you look closely at my son’s face (he was much younger at the time) you will notice that he, or his intact tongue, discovered something was not quite legit about his food.

Umm, MOM I really don't want to eat this and my hand is being forced to touch it!

Last in the line up of disgusting is the baboy, or pig.  I know many enjoy this particular delight world-wide and often involves bon-fires with kegs of beer and drunk, hooting humans.  This cuisine was an easy one to maneuver around and did not produce the cardiac standstill that the Balut did.  However, I did manage to try a piece.  It was, ah, different tasting than the store-bought pig that we consume.  It has a wild taste, like deer. 

Alas we arrive at the reason for this post.  Forget about the fully formed baby duck and other tormenting entrees.  We will now discuss Pizza.  Nice, safe Pizza.

My daughter ordered a Big Mac Pizza and asked me to try a piece.  I had never heard of such a thing.  A pizza made like a Big Mac?  But after exposure to the above mentioned how could I really argue with her safe request????? Big Mac Pizza prepare to meet my Gastric contents………

It was GREAT!!!  It tastes just like a Big Mac minus McDonalds nasty, processed, life sucking beef patties.

I even packed some in my lunch today –

Messy goodness!

– and enjoyed every.single.messy.bite!  Now that’s the stuff I’d try any day!!